Araki Minol (1928-2010)
Hanging scroll; Ink and mineral colors on paper
24 3/4 x 37 7/8 in.
57 x 42 in. (inclusive of mount)
Exhibited and Published: MINOL ARAKI, National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan, 1998-1999; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, 1999. Plate 31, page 86 in exhibition catalogue.
Lotuses figured prominently in Araki's oeuvre and was a subject he explored continuously for decades. And it was that subject matter that brought him to be introduced to the great Chinese traditionalist painter Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) through Zhang's artist friend, Yao Menggu, who had, by chance, spotted Araki sketching lotuses in front of the National Museum of Taiwan in 1973. Though they have deep meaning in Chinese history and literature, Araki's interpretations are drawn from this long tradition while not weighed down by its many rich associations. This scroll painting of lotus was exhibited in the 1999 Minol Araki exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona, and at the National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan. In the accompanying exhibition catalogue, Steven D. Owyoung writes of this work:
"The growing primacy of the lotus flower is apparent four years later in the 1996 Lotus (plate 31), where the fresh glory of the blossoms contrasts with the decayed, dying leaves that are done in a carefully controlled wash and defined by a drying brush. Even the young, furled leaves of the lotus appear more fleeting and transitory in their bird-swift shapes, readily surrendering to the pure luxury of the bloom."
"Graceful and sentimental lotus flowers inspire my imagination. Painting the lotus, called the 'gentleman of flowers' in ancient texts, enables me to converse with respected old masters."
- Araki Minol
An artist who lived between many worlds, Araki Minol (1928-2010) was a prodigious talent who successfully bridged the painting traditions of China and Japan, nature scenes and portraiture, classicism and modernity, and later, the artistic styles that had taken hold in the East and West. His unique hybridity, both biographically and creatively, laid the foundation for his vigorous paintings that not only synthesized these various influences but further revealed a highly original artistic viewpoint. Delicate botanical studies, intimate in scale, were as much a part of his repertoire as soaring mountain vistas, which could grow to multi-panel, room-sized installations. Works of this scale are in the permanent collections of Western institutions including the Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Saint Louis Art Museum. Significant works by Araki can also be found in major museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.